Skip to main content.

Health care reform: where was the press?

Health care reform: where was the press?

Picture of Peter Lipson

The passage of the health care reform bill has not mitigated the meaningless, hyperbolic assertions coming from those who oppose it. John Boehner practically called for an overthrow of the government. Reporting on the bill has been long on polling numbers and budgetary concerns, and short on any of the substance that makes this bill important. Asking vaccuous questions such as, "Have you even read the bill?" or "Why aren't you listening to America?" are worse than useless. Questions that need asking (and should have been asked before last night) include:

  • What exactly will this bill do for businesses such as the one I own/work for?
  • What will this bill do to my current choice in health plans?
  • What is likely to happen to my premiums?
  • What is the likely effect on physician compensation and retention?
  • What are the likely effects on hospitals?
  • What sort of effects might we see on quality of care and outcomes?

I've seen very few pieces that ask or attempt to answer any of these questions. Asking politicians is somewhat less than useful. But hospital administrators, benefits officers, and many others are reading this bill right now and planning. Physicians are hoping things won't get too much worse. I've been terribly disappointed in the press during the run up to last night's vote. This would be a good time for the fourth estate to pick up their pencils and do some real work.


Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Hi, Peter, check out these cheat sheets from mainstream media to find some of the answers to your excellent questions. Not that journalists should stop trying to answer them in the months to come. Also check out HealthBlawg's interview with Peter Neumann on the role of cost-effectiveness research in the health reform debate, which addresses your question about effects of health reform on quality of care and outcomes. Thanks again for your post!

Picture of Peter Lipson

Good resources, thanks.  It would be nice to see the press covering this now, and in detail, given the amount of coverage given over to the bluster, the teabaggers, etc.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Agreed. And Howard Kurtz also agrees with you.

Leave A Comment


Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States? The USC Center for Health Journalism seeks an enterprising and experienced journalism leader for our new position of “Manager of Projects.” 



Follow Us



CHJ Icon